The music industry is in decline. And it's not the artists' fault. It's not even the pirates' fault. Nope, according to U2 manager Paul McGuinness, the blame lies with tech companies like Microsoft, Dell and Apple, along with internet service providers like BT.

Speaking at MIDEM, the annual music industry trade show in Cannes, McGuinness says that these big technology and telecoms companies are making lots of money indirectly from the music industry. And it's his opinion that they should be giving something back to the bands and artists who're making the music.

Music in Trouble?

"These are very clever people and a lot of fun to work with," he said of the Tech community in Silicon Valley, San Francisco. "But they've been extremely socially irresponsible.

"For me, the business model of the future is one where music is bundled into an ISP or other subscription service, and the revenues are shared between the distributor and the content owners. Some people go further and favour a state-imposed blanket license on music. I don't believe in that."

The point that McGuinness is trying to make is that the big tech companies are whetting our appetites for digital music. And while they make money out of the digital revolution, the piracy that accompanies this movement is rife and is harming the music industry as a whole.

Whether he is right or not is a moot point. Record sales have been falling in many territories, especially in America. And digital piracy is endemic. The relationship between those two facts is undeniable. And how this problem is going to be fixed is anybody's guess.